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The Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 11, Healdsburg, CA

seven_percent.jpgThere comes a point in every intrepid wine lover's life when the well-traveled road must be left behind. One can only drink so much Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. But finding one's way out of the multitudes of these bottles to something more exotic and interesting takes some effort.

Which is where the folks behind the Seven Percent Solution come in. These wine producers have organized themselves behind a claim that 93% of California's vineyard acreage is planted to eight major grape varieties, leaving seven percent for all the others. While my calculations differ (according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, thirteen varieties make up 87% of the wine grape plantings in the state) that doesn't make the charter of this group of wineries any less interesting.

Quite the contrary. The tasting that this group of seventeen wineries is putting on May 11th may well be one of the most interesting and exciting wine tastings I've encountered in California. The participating vintners are: Arnot Roberts, Bedrock Wine Co., Broc Cellars, Dirty & Rowdy Family Winery, Forlorn Hope, Idlewild Wines, Jolie-Laide, Leo Steen, Massican, Matthiasson, RPM, Ryme Cellars, Stark Wine, The Scholium Project, Two Shepherds, Unti Vineyards and Wind Gap.

For those less familiar with the names on this list, it's a veritable Who's Who list of many of the hottest small wineries in California. And by hottest, I mean those who are known and loved by wine geeks like me for pushing the boundaries of California wine.

And in two weeks, these wineries are getting together to show off some of their obscure grapes for the public. Grenache Blanc, Trousseau, Gamay, Refosco, Ribolla Gialla, Tempranillo, Verdelho, Touriga Nacional, St. Laurent, Semillon. These are just some of the grapes that these intrepid wineries have chosen to celebrate with their wines.

These wineries and their beloved grapes will be descending on a cute wine bar in Healdsburg Saturday afternoon for a tasting that is guaranteed to electrify your palate.

The Seven Percent Solution Tasting
Saturday, May 11th
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Bergamot Alley Bar and Wine Merchant
328A Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg CA, 95448 (map)

Tickets are $40 and well worth it, in my opinion. Buy yours in advance online, as this event will probably sell out.

Comments (9)

04.28.13 at 10:06 AM

thanks for your support on this Alder - I am excited Two Shepherds was invited to be a part...I keep joking this is a tasting I may leave my table half the event!

You are right on buying tickets early - the venue is small and only 150 tickets.

Lastly, it you are a Tweeter, the hashtag is #7Solution

look forward to seeing everyone, cheers!

Sam Bilbro wrote:
04.28.13 at 3:36 PM

Thanks for spreading the word! Just a note, you're indeed correct that 87% of CA acreage is planted to thirteen varietals, but 93% of North Coast plantings are to 8 varietals. That is the origin of the name... And we liked the sound if Seven % Solution. Though it admittedly is a bit too easy to get skewed. Oh well... Names are tough but the tasting should be great!

Sam Bilbro
Idlewild Wines

Tom Barras wrote:
04.29.13 at 10:51 AM

Long live obscure grapes!!

There was once, and maybe still is, the ABC crowd---Anything but Cabernet, and alternately, Anything but Chardonnay.

Can we develop an acronym or abbreviation as well for "anything but the Big Eight?" ABBE?

Michael wrote:
04.29.13 at 1:11 PM

Nice write up and so true, so many varietals so little time. My partner and I are opening a wine shop in Santa Rosa in a month or two. Hope to have a plethora of unique grapes in our inventory. Not sure if we can make the tasting. Anything like this for the trade folks? Thanks!

05.02.13 at 7:12 AM

Taken care of Michael, see you there!

Mark Puckett wrote:
05.06.13 at 10:19 PM

I discovered these varietals during my stay in France, having loved California Cabernets for many years (still do). I am getting ready to transfer back to the USA, and while I have collected many bottles and cases of southern French wines from the Spanish border to the Rhone Valley, I am very interested in American producers of these grapes and their wines. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

John Smith wrote:
05.09.13 at 9:07 AM

Great idea, but how could you omit that prototypical winery, Obscurity Cellars?
The mission statement, articulated in their first newsletter in 2003, said "Obscurity Cellars will produce very limited quantities of unusual and even exotic wines from Fair Play and elsewhere in California, for a small but
discriminating group of adventurous wine lovers."
They went on to produce wines from Malbec, Petit Verdot, Alicante Bouschet, Pinotage, Dolcetto, Carmenere, Tempranillo, Charbono,and Carignane.

John Smith wrote:
05.09.13 at 9:41 AM

And then they made Tinta Cao, Tannat, Touriga, Tinta Amarela, and roses from many of the obscure varieties.

Catherine wrote:
06.05.13 at 12:59 PM

I would love to attend one of these events! Hopefully I'll get to California this year for some wine tastings.

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